In Syria, we are mitigating the impacts of the humanitarian crisis and providing long-term support to the Syrian people. We empower Syrians themselves to work on long-term measures to redress the impacts of the conflict. We primarily focus on education, repairing infrastructure, and supporting agriculture. In 2023, we pulled on our local resources and experience to provide an immediate response to the massive earthquake that struck in February of that year.
In Syria, we are addressing the most immediate needs of the conflict-affected population. We provide food aid, repair infrastructure and water supply networks, provide shelters to endangered people, distribute hygiene kits, and help displaced families overcome the harsh winters.
We build resilience by supporting agriculture and the renewal of food sources and creating new job opportunities. To this end, we are providing financial assistance for training and entrepreneurship within our cash-for-work programme.
Our team is laying the groundwork for a future full of potential by supporting education in schools and temporary education centres with the support of local teachers, students, and their parents. We strive to enhance the quality of teaching; we provide psychosocial support, which helps children and families manage their conflict-induced stress and anxiety. To ensure this support gets to those who need it most, we have created spaces for children in IDP camps where they can play and learn.
Within our livelihood and agriculture programmes, we provide conflict-affected people the opportunities to renew or expand their opportunities in these fields. Consequently, people who participate in our programmes contribute to the economic rejuvenation of their communities and strengthen local markets that have endured a decade of decline.
We were one of the first Humanitarian Organisations to respond to the outbreak of conflict in Syria back in 2011 when we provided urgent humanitarian support to the Syrian people. Today, we are providing help in various forms to more than 910,000 people.
The situation in Syria
The devastating conflict in Syria, which started in 2011, is ongoing, and it has significantly devastated the country. Every tenth building is devastated or destroyed, and the distribution of aid is limited by devastated or looted infrastructure and unexploded munitions.
Although the lines of control in particular regions have stabilised, continuing violence destroys lives and forces people from their homes. Of 21 million, around 14.6 million people depend on humanitarian aid, which ensures the approach to the most critical needs and services, such as drinking water, food, shelter, and education. There are more than 6.9 million internal refugees in Syria, and 1.8 million remain in IDP camps or temporary accommodations.
In addition to the vagaries of war, Syria is experiencing a deep economic crisis, and more than 90 % of Syrians live below the poverty line. Furthermore, investment is significantly limited due to the enduring uncertainty and non-existent political solutions to the conflict.
Compounding Syria’s situation is the fact that an estimated 2.4 million children do not go to school, and another 1.6 million children may lose the opportunity to go to school; with a loss of schooling, these children are condemned to an uncertain, unfulfilled future.
On top of these issues, millions of internal refugees still cannot return to their homes for a multitude of reasons—this prevents them from rebuilding their lives, communities, and country. The complicating factors include unexploded ordnance, limited or restricted access to services in the places where they originally lived, lack of health care, and complications concerning their legal status.
The 2023 earthquake
On February 6, 2023, southeast Turkey and northwest Syria were hit by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake. Around 44,000 people were killed, and whole towns and vital infrastructure was destroyed.
By the second day, we were already distributing material aid, hot meals, clothes, tents, and gas to the rescuers and people affected by the earthquake. We also launched the SOS Earthquake Syria and Turkey emergency appeal, where we have collected a total of $4,737,012.